Retreating....

Woodland gate

Howard is up in London this week (teaching puppetry) and our house is remarkably quiet. So I'm using this opportunity to take a "Work Retreat" over the next few days, focused on getting my little Secret Project finished at last.

Woodland gate

The Secret Project has taken longer than I ever expected -- but then, it's just a side project, not my main job (which is a manuscript-in-progress), so I've been piecing it together in fits and starts, before and after my regular work day. I've turned into a Studio Hermit this month, with little time left for anything else -- so it's high time to get the SP done. (And the manuscript too. But that's a another story.)

Please wish me luck. Tilly and I will see you all again on Monday.

The Thorny Paradise

Hillside selfie


Myth & Moor update

The Goose Girl by Arthur Rackham

I'm away for the next week, back again on Monday, February 13. Have a good and creative week, everyone. Keep shining in the darkness.

An update on the update: It now looks like it will be another week before I'm back, as I'm still not finished with secret something I'm working on. But I'll have things to show you when I return, and hope you'll find it worth the wait. 

"In a time of destruction, create something." 
- Maxine Hong Kingston


Peter Pan in Kensington Garden by Arthur RackhamArt by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)


Book decoration by Arthur Rackham

Xmas 2016

Arthur Rackham

Woodland color

Once upon a time in the woods

The studio is closed for the holidays until Monday, January 2nd. My deepest apologies for the lack of new posts recently -- the flu that has swept our household (and half the village) has been both tenacious and severe. But we'll start again fresh in the new year -- and I look forward to resuming our conversations about books, art, folklore, nature, resilience, and living in this world in a good, mythic way. Thank you for being part of our Mythic Arts community, and have a good holiday.

Tilly when she was young, by David WyattThe fairy painting above is by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939). The drawing of Tilly as a pup is by David Wyatt. The poem in the picture captions is by Liz Lochhead (Scottish Poetry Library), after John Donne's "A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day Being the Shortest Day."


Myth & Moor update

Tilly in the studio

I wrote a post for today called "Walking in the Dark," based on a two-years-old essay by Rebecca Solnit ... but in an odd bit of coincidence, BrainPicking (Maria Popova's excellent blog) has a similar post on the very same essay today, beating me to the punch. Rats!

As a result, dear Readers, I have no post for you today. Plus, I'm back in bed with the flu. (It's Plague House around here. Even Tilly's been under the weather.) Once I'm on my feet again, I'll reassemble the art and photos of my piece around a different text -- assuming I can find one that's equally suitable. In all these years of writing for Myth & Moor, this hasn't happened before, so I'm a bit flummoxed.

I hope to be back in the studio very soon. In the meantime, please go read Popova's piece on BrainPicking. You can also read the full text of Solnit's essay online here, on the New Yorker's website.

Charles RobinsonArt by Charles Robinson (1870-1937)


Re-connection

Tilly in the leaves

Oak leaves

I am going to ground for a few days in order to re-connect with nature and art, and to re-find my natural optimism and fighting spirit. I wrote about the process of doing so here, in a piece I posted last June.

I'll be back on Monday. Take care of yourselves.

Autumn leavesThe poem in the picture captions is from Wendell Berry's Standing by Words (Counterpoint, 2005); all rights reserved by the author.


I'm off...

Catskin by Arthur Rackham

I will be away from home for the next week, and then back to the studio on Monday, October 10. These are the words I'd like to leave you with, from an interview with Anthony Doerr:

Drawing by E.M. Taylor"Life is wonderful and strange...and it’s also absolutely mundane and tiresome. It’s hilarious and it’s deadening. It’s a big, screwed-up morass of beauty and change and fear and all our lives we oscillate between awe and tedium. I think stories are the place to explore that inherent weirdness; that movement from the fantastic to the prosaic that is life....

"What interests me -- and interests me totally -- is how we as living human beings can balance the brief, warm, intensely complicated fingersnap of our lives against the colossal, indifferent, and desolate scales of the universe. Earth is four-and-a-half billion years old. Rocks in your backyard are moving if you could only stand still enough to watch. You get hernias because, eons ago, you used to be a fish. So how in the world are we supposed to measure our lives -- which involve things like opening birthday cards, stepping on our kids’ LEGOs, and buying toilet paper at Safeway -- against the absolutely incomprehensible vastness of the universe? 

"How? We stare into the fire. We turn to friends, bartenders, lovers, priests, drug-dealers, painters, writers. Isn’t that why we seek each other out, why people go to churches and temples, why we read books? So that we can find out if life occasionally sets other people trembling, too?"

Indeed.

Rain cloudsThe quote by Anthony Doerr is from an interview in Wag's Review (Issue 8). The illustrations above are by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) and E.M. Taylor (1906-1964).


Myth & Moor update

Painting by Terri Windling

My apologies for missing the Monday Tunes post today. It's been a hard week or so around here -- not for me personally, I hasten to add, but for several people (and animals*) around me, all going through tough times large and small. When many different things require attention (work, family life, supporting my loved ones), I'm afraid it's this blog that must draw the short straw. I hope to be back again on Wednesday...and I'll post the music I'd planned for today next week.

Here is a thing I've been thinking about: The world is a troubled place right now, full of anger and divisiveness on the political Left and Right alike. This can trickle down from the cultural/political level to our personal relationships, if we're not careful. Both online and off, so many exchanges seem to be unusually and reflexively sharp right now. The world is hot, metaphorically speaking, and it seems to me like it needs cooling down. As artists, as wordsmiths, as people who walk the good earth, let's be part of that cooling. Let's talk, not shout; unite, not divide. Let's be still and silent sometimes, not just quick and reactive.

My mantra these days is: be gentle, be gentle, be gentle. Stand your ground, know your truth, but be kind.

Studio light* Tilly has another vet appointment for a persistent health problem tomorrow. It's not life-threatening, but has been troublesome and going on for a while. Please send her good thoughts for a positive outcome and full recovery.